Monday Inspiration: The New Stone Collection from Little Greene

There is always much fanfare when Dulux and Pantone release their colours of the year shortly before Christmas. This time it was Brave Ground for the former – a sort of greyish mud that was instantly polarising as everyone demanded uplifting colours given the year they had just been through, not realising that Dulux picks it, not just as a colour for your walls, but as a reflection of where it thinks society is at the given moment. And this year, it said, we were taking stock and building on a solid foundation hence the colour of the ground. However, the fury was as nothing compared with the outrage that greeted the two colours chosen by Pantone – Ultimate Grey and Illuminating – basically the dullest grey you can imagine (and I write as one who has written an entire book singing the praises of this versatile shade) and lemon yellow. It was meant, said the company, to be about the light at the end of the tunnel. Humph said the world while instagram posted endless pictures of double yellow lines on roads.

The new stone collection from little greene: arras on the door, netherone on the lower wall, castell pink above and ferdinand on the ceiling
The new stone collection from little greene: arras on the door, netherone on the lower wall, castell pink above and ferdinand on the ceiling

But there is another, quieter, perhaps more realistic way to look at the colours that may be popular in the months ahead and that’s via the paint company Little Greene. Every now and then they release a tonal colour card – so far we have have seen green, blue and pink. This year, among the pile of post that landed with a thud on the doormat the other day – no doubt held up by the glut of Christmas shopping – was their new Stone collection.

The new stone collection from little greene: brunswick green and portland stone in light and pale
The new stone collection from little greene: brunswick green and portland stone in light and pale

A palette of soft neutrals developed in conjunction with the National Trust (a long time collaborator) this collection feels perfect for now. The warm neutrals that have been trailed for several months, punctuated with bursts of soft, yet intense, shades to pep it all up a little.

Never mind shades of mud and tarmac, this is what feels right for now. I wrote, during one of the lockdowns ( I forget which) that staying at home for months on end might lead to a desire for calming warm colours that make us feel safe and comfortable. Or course there will always be those who prefer a high energy colour scheme but when there’s a lot of noise in my head I need something restful to gaze at.

The new stone collection from little greene: chocolate colour
The new stone collection from little greene: chocolate colour

This is that palette. But it’s not just shades of cream, brown and beige, there is green, tones of burgundy and pink and warm bronze colours that all work together to provide a look that is both classic and modern. The card consists of 36 colours of which 22 are new and 14 have been chosen from the existing archive.

It has been further divided into six “families” each with a different undertone;  based on naturally occurring pigments; Red Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Lamp Black and Green Earth making the choices much simpler. Simply pick a line and select as many colours as you wish knowing they will all go together.

The new stone collection from little greene: portland stone wall, baluster on the chest and pompeiian ash just seen
The new stone collection from little greene: portland stone wall, baluster on the chest and pompeiian ash just seen while that burst of yellow is the perfect disrupter

You can, of course, cross families, to create combinations which are a little more contrasting and dynamic if that is your wish. Ruth Mottershead, the creative director of Little Greene, says the collection is timely.

“Our households have become our haven, whether working or relaxing we are all spending an increased amount of time at home. We are searching for interiors that are comforting, which is driving the desire to create cocooning, cosy spaces – the colours of stone are indefinably beautiful, so pleasing to the eye and soothing for the soul.

The new stone collection from little greene: portland stone pale on the ceiling with baluster on the wall
The new stone collection from little greene: portland stone pale on the ceiling with baluster on the wall – the orange table is the key element in this scheme

“There is a shift away from cooler greys towards warmer hues and the warm neutrals that the Stone palette provides are perfect for creating restful living spaces, whilst absolutely attaining elegance in both contemporary and classical settings. This is not about a return to beige or magnolia, it’s about using these new neutrals to create interiors that are smart and inviting.”

And that works perfectly for me. What about you?


Tags : little greeneNew paint collectionnew paint palettestone collectionStone colour collection
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Hello Kate, New to your blog, like your style!! Love the New L. Green colours; your opinion please, on painting ( shallow) alcove in cottage s. room. Darker inside or lighter, or Something Completely Different…….. Discuss!

    1. Well….! All of those are valid ideas. A dark one will make the recess appear deeper – so you could do a darker version of the rest of the walls. If it’s too shallow to do much with in terms of storage then you have two options – either paint it the same as the walls so that it disappears and hang a picture or tv in the space. Or you can really be dramatic and either wallpaper it paint it a contrasting shade. The only issue with this is that you tie it to the rest of the room so it’s not a random thing that looks like you were too scared to use more of it. One way of doing this is to paint the skirting boards and woodwork in the rest of the room to match the colour in the alcoves, or picking out one of the wallpaper colours. That way the skirting links the rest of the room to the back of the alcoves and creates a cohesive scheme. A cushion or chair on the other side of the room that links with either colour or pattern will also work well. X

  2. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy happy happy happy you are back! 🙂

    No color is as dreary as not having your wit and eye candy around! Smooches!

  3. What a lovely post to start the year with. Many thanks Kate. Beautiful. Like the mixing of the neutrals with the stronger colour and pops of colour. Stops them sliding into beige!

  4. These colors look very attractive for other people, but not for me. Clothing in these colors would look deadly on me, so I would not put them on my walls. This highlights a problem with color trends. When they become a “thing” it becomes difficult to find alternatives. Trend forecasts are hugely influential in home furnishings and fashion. I am sure I am not the only one to be thwarted in my search for something quite mundane but not available in any but the “in” colors..

  5. love Little Green and use their paints with confidence. Love also this range of colours have always felt comfortable with a neutral scheme but recently have incorporated bursts of darker dramatic colour but the neutral palette stands the test of time for me – thankyou for your blog – informative, entertaining and educational

  6. Hi Kate, HNY! I read both your books over Christmas, both very inspiring. I wonder if there are other rules to be applied when painting rooms with no pretty details. The majority of the images you share (& we all save on pinterest) are spacious rooms with lots of pretty panelling, cornicing, ceiling roses or other details of the like which add texture to palettes like this. My walls just meet the ceiling without coving & can look a little boxy at approx 10ft x 11ft. I have an abundance of art (main passion as Associate Director to Nick Knight’s archive & Gallery Manager to SHOWstudio) so maybe there’s enough detail already but is the ‘paint everything… skirting boards & all’ mantra enough when skirting boards are literally the only detail of the walls themselves? Bex Cassie

    1. Hi Bex, that’s an interesting point. Firstly I would say the idea of painting the walls, skirting and ceiling the same is called the gallery look – presumably because the background doesn’t detract from the art – so there’s that! Otherwise why not flip it round and instead of coloured walls and white woodwork why not leave your walls pale and paint the skirtings and doors in a colour = could be anything from soft pink to forest green. That will give you a bit of decorative detail without overwhelming and detracting from all the pictures on the walls.

      1. Hi Kate, that’s a really great idea thank you. I’ll be resentfully staring at my plain skirting boards for the rest of the day now..

  7. Enjoyed this post enormously on the first day back to relative normality! Thank you!
    The colour palettes. images you have used with styling, are divine and so inspirational. I have been using Little Greene for many years personally and for my clients. The last few years particularly, I have been encouraging clients to move towards these warmer neutrals (Rolling Fog spectrum is my fave) and they have worked so well in their homes.
    So good to see them taking a centre stage now. How exciting!
    Happyt New Year!

  8. I’m a huge fan of neturals. I find them calming and grounding (something I’ve needed to concerntrate on a lot in the last 10th months!) Neutrals are always a great place to start for those who are new to renovations too! I speak from experience! My entire house started as a neutral canvas to which I have added to as my confidence has grown! Lovely blog to start the year. x

  9. Lovely to wake up to your blog again. Welcome back! The New Stone Collection from Little Greene is very pleasing to the visual senses, a soft subtle palette with added earth colours that will uplift a living space with interest. As we are all spending more time within our homes balancing work and family our living spaces needs to offer multi function areas. Getting the right hues and colours to ease moods and create a haven can most certainly be achieved by injecting the use of this beautiful collection.

  10. It all looks good to me.
    I like Little Greene colours and their paint charts are amazing. I used their charts when we had a major overhaul of our house and am very pleased with the results.

  11. I like this palette of colours. The idea that one could do a whole room based around one of their lines is perfect for those of us who need decorating help. I too need a warm, soothing space, a refuge. Good to have you back. I love waking up here in Manitoba to find a Mad About the House post in my inbox.

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